Beneficiary Deeds

 

I’ll start with a blanket statement:  everybody who owns real estate in either Kansas or Missouri should have a beneficiary deed on file for that real estate, assuming it is not already placed in a trust.  But, time and again, I see folks who pass away without having filed that simple, cheap and easy form with the county.  A simple beneficiary deed can mean the difference between a quick and easy transition of your property to your heirs versus a long, drawn-out, expensive probate procedure.

A beneficiary deed is also known as a “transfer on death” deed.  It allows your real estate to transfer automatically upon your death to whoever you name in that deed.  You still own the property when you file a beneficiary deed on your real estate.  You retain full control over it.  You can mortgage the property, you can sell the property, you can do whatever you want with it – the beneficiary does not restrict your ownership of the property at all.  If you get angry with the person you’ve named in the beneficiary deed to get your property, no problem – you can revoke that deed at any time you’d like.  You can change the […]

By | September 30th, 2020|0 Comments

Escrituras Beneficiarias

Comenzaré con una declaración general: todos los propietarios de bienes raíces en Kansas o Missouri deben tener una escritura de beneficiario archivada para esos bienes raíces, suponiendo que no estén ya depositados en un fideicomiso. Pero, una y otra vez, veo personas que fallecen sin haber presentado ese formulario simple, barato y fácil en el condado. Una simple escritura del beneficiario puede significar la diferencia entre una transición rápida y fácil de su propiedad a sus herederos versus un procedimiento de sucesión largo, prolongado y costoso.

Una escritura de beneficiario también se conoce como una escritura de “transferencia en caso de fallecimiento”. Permite que su propiedad inmobiliaria se transfiera automáticamente después de su muerte a quien sea que nombre en esa escritura. Aún es dueño de la propiedad cuando presenta una escritura de beneficiario sobre su propiedad inmobiliaria. Usted mantiene el control total sobre la propiedad.. Puede hipotecar la propiedad, puede vender la propiedad, puede hacer lo que quiera con ella; el beneficiario no restringe su propiedad de los bienes en absoluto. Si se enoja con la persona que ha nombrado en la escritura del beneficiario para obtener su propiedad, no hay problema; puede revocar esa escritura en cualquier momento que […]

By | September 30th, 2020|0 Comments

Dealing with a relative who died without a will

 

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

One of the most considerate things you can do for your family is to make certain that you have an up-to-date estate plan, even if you are in perfectly good health.  It saves a tremendous amount of cost and stress and even heartache to have your affairs in order in the event you pass away unexpectedly.  This blog is written for those people who have unfortunately had a loved one pass away recently, and to make matter worse, that loved one did not have an estate plan.  If you are the person who has the responsibility of wrapping up that loved one’s estate, you are likely feeling overwhelmed at the moment.  You are probably feeling a little nervous as well, especially if there are other family members who are depending upon you to liquidate the estate and share the proceeds with them.  If not done properly, you could even find yourself dragged into court to answer as to what happened to the decedent’s property.

Many times, there are rumors that a deceased family member had assets worth far more than they actually were.  For example, a family member who always lived in a nice house […]

By | September 24th, 2019|0 Comments

Beneficiary Deeds

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

The main reason to have a revocable trust is to avoid probate.  But, did you know that many, actually probably “most”, people don’t really need a revocable trust if their family situation is relatively simple and they make good use of “non-probate transfer mechanisms.”

A non-probate transfer mechanism is simply a way to change the title on a piece of property without getting an order of the probate court.  A simple example is using a “Payable on Death” designation on your checking account.  If you have listed someone as a “Payable on Death” (aka “POD”) beneficiary on your checking account, then the bank will automatically give the money in that account to your POD beneficiary once that person presents your death certificate to the bank.

It is super simple – no need for lawyers or courts.  A great tool for transferring real estate that is just as simple is known as a “Beneficiary Deed.”  A Beneficiary Deed is essentially just like a POD designation on a bank account, with the exception that it is for real estate.  It is a little more complicated because you’ll want an attorney to draft that Beneficiary Deed for you, and […]

By | April 16th, 2019|0 Comments

It’s the Holidays – Time for a Serious Discussion with your Loved Ones

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

I absolutely love the holidays.  It is a wonderful time for me mainly because I get to spend time with family that I rarely see throughout the remainder of the year.  So, it’s a great time to catch up on their lives and listen to their joys and concerns about their life.  It’s also a great time to discuss some issues that are difficult to discuss, but may make a difficult time in the future a little easier.  Now, you don’t need to be in your golden years to have this discussion.  This advice applies to “twenty-somethings” just as much (maybe more in some ways) as it does with great-grandmas.  Last month, my blog was about the heart-breaking story that was shared by another attorney of when his family was in an horrific traffic accident that claimed the lives of both of his parents and an infant sibling.  He and his toddler aged sister survived.  His young parents had not done any sort of estate plan, and as a result, the two young surviving children became wards of the court for placement among family members.  Don’t let that happen to […]

By | December 7th, 2018|0 Comments

What Happens When the Unthinkable Happens?

By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President

I attended a continuing legal education seminar a couple of weeks ago.  There were some very good speakers and some very good topics, but one speaker really caught my attention.  It wasn’t because he was a particularly good speaker or that he had great information for us.  It was because he shared a very personal story about heartbreak and turmoil in his own life.

 When he was a child, his family was in an horrific automobile accident.  It killed his mother, father and one of his siblings.  He was very young at the time, about 5 years old.  His younger sister, about 3 at the time, also survived the accident.  Unfortunately, his parents did not have an estate plan of any kind.  Luckily, well sort of, he had family on both his mother’s and father’s sides of the family that could care for him and his sister.  The problem was that the family could not agree on who would be the best to take care of the 2 surviving children.  So, a court case was opened to allow a judge to make that decision.

The judge temporarily placed […]

By | November 8th, 2018|0 Comments

Estate planning is so NOT Important-and that’s why it is SO Important

By Doug Sisson, Probate and Bankruptcy Paralegal

At W M Law, we specialize in Estate Planning and probate. We breathe wills, trusts, affidavits, petitions so on and so forth.  We enjoy the fulfillment that our work brings us…But let’s stop for a second and inject a little honesty and perspective to the estate planning process.

Estate Planning: What IS Important vs. What IS NOT

Compared to life and death, love and grief – estate and financial planning seem pretty frivolous, and in the grand scheme of things – not that important. Here are a few examples:

  • Nurturing family relationships, grief, emotions and protecting family assets VS. Choosing who gets dad’s classic car, or mom’s jewelry set, or the family coin collection.
  • Recognizing the importance of keeping the family home, remembering the blood, sweat and tears put into paying off the home, and the importance of the memories created at the home Losing your home to qualify for Medicaid.
  • Admitting the relevance of decades of work spent building funds to secure a strong retirement Maximizing the tax and asset protections for inherited property.

Estate Planning – Allows loved ones to Focus on What Matters Most

Estate planning tools – powers of attorney, medical directives, wills and […]

By | October 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

Why Do College-Bound Kids Need a Power-of-Attorney in Place?

By Ana Ballesteros, W M Law Paralegal

As parents race around the next few weeks to buy their college-bound children dorm items, clothing, supplies and teach them last-minute life lessons, there is one more item they should add to their to-do list:  put in place a power of attorney.

Why would a college-bound child need a power of attorney? First of all, these college-bound students are now 18 years of age or older and legally we parents may not be able to protect them quickly in dire moments if we do not plan ahead.  When they were kids and something would happen, we would come to their rescue and were legally able to do so because we were their guardians. Once that child turns 18, parents cannot even access their college grades or health records without permission from the adult child.

Parents do not want their minds to wander to the “unthinkable” but what if their child is in an accident, or experiences a medical condition while away and is unable to make decisions or speak for themselves? Who will communicate their wishes? What if decisions need to be made quickly?  These situations do occur and in some cases require drawn-out legal procedures.

So, […]

By | August 10th, 2018|0 Comments

Estate Planning vs. Elder Law

By Doug Sisson, W M Law Probate and Bankruptcy Paralegal

Many clients and even attorneys are perplexed by the differences between estate planning and elder law.  Not all estate planning requires elder law, and elder law does not always require estate planning.  So, what’s the difference?

Estate PlanningWhat happens if I die?

An estate plan determines who, when, and how assets are divided upon your passing.  This is assuming you have assets left to distribute at the end of life. Any myriad of events could happen to you or loved ones between the creation of an estate plan and one’s passing – personal injury, mental incapacitation, inheriting other assets, becoming permanently disabled etc. etc.

Elder Law – focuses on the opposite, what happens if I live?  

The best estate plan in the world can’t protect against all the “what-ifs” that happen while you are still alive.  Elder law helps you stay in control as you age which entails everything from your healthcare decisions, to how you pay for a care, preservation of money now, income and assets, and what can be used for your benefit and care while you’re still alive.

So which do I need?  It really boils down to: is your […]

By | July 9th, 2018|0 Comments

Importance of Guardianship Decisions Prior to Leaving for Vacation

By Ana Ballesteros, W M Law Paralegal

With summer vacations starting, many of us are starting to plan or getting ready to leave for a family vacation. Whether the vacation is going to visit family or out to a different destination it is important to plan for the worst case scenario. What would happen to our dependents if something were to happen to us?

We do not like to think of such things but it is never wrong to prepare for the worst. Normally, the Judge looks for an immediate family member such as the grandparents or an aunt or uncle, whoever is willing and able to take care of the children. But what if the parents want someone else to take care of the kids? What if the parents do not trust crazy uncle Joe or fear that grandma and grandpa are too old to care for the kids?

There is only so much we can prepare for. As parents, we can write a request for the Judge to assign a Guardian for our children. The Judge will review the request which will impact the decision as to who will care for the children. There are many factors that go into the […]

By | June 7th, 2018|0 Comments